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Hockey sex case reopened

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22:57 CET+01:00
The investigation into the three ice hockey players who had sex with a 22 year old woman in a hotel room in February is to be reopened. The chief prosecutor said she considers that the initial inquiry was closed too quickly.

Andreas Lilja, Kristian Huselius and Henrik Tallinder were accused of raping the woman after a night out in Stockholm following a match with the national team. They admitted having sex with her but said that she was a willing participant.

Despite massive media attention, the case against them was closed after one day on the basis that there was no evidence against the players.

But now, the chief prosecutor, Birgit Thunved, has reopened the investigation and changed the crime classification from rape to "sexual abuse".

"It has become clear from the interrogations which have been held that this is the crime which there is reason to suspect has taken place," she said.

A new prosecutor, Peter Broberg, will now deal with the case. He told Svenska Dagbladet that there were certain failings in the previous investigation, including the fact that the woman was only interviewed once, in the hospital. And, according to Broberg, the urine and blood samples provided by the woman were not analysed correctly.

Other people could now be questioned in connection with the case.

"Bearing in mind the case confidentiality I don't want to go into who they are, but they're people who we hope can provide crucial details about what happened on the night in question," said Broberg.

The samples from the woman have been stored and, now that the case has been reopened, can legally be analysed once again.

Expressen sought comments from the players but neither Huselius nor Tallinder were available. Only Andreas Lilja responded and he told the paper to speak to the lawyer representing all three players, Leif Silbersky.

"I am very, very surprised," he said. "My spontaneous reaction is that the prosecutor caved in to the pressure of the mass media."

He said that the first prosecutor must have had good reason to dismiss the case in the first place and acknowledged that the reopening of the case could work to the players' advantage if it was thorough.

"But you have to weigh that against how bad they feel about all the attention around the case - they just want to put it behind them."

Silbersky confirmed that he had been in contact with the players through their agents to discuss whether he would continue to represent them - if, indeed, they needed legal representation.

"What has been decided is that the investigation will be reopened, but it has not been confirmed that they are suspected of a crime," said Silbersky.

"That is very important to emphasise."

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, Expressen, SR

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